Biological Oceanography

Overview: This course will serve as an introduction to oceanography, with an emphasis on how physical and chemical processes drive primary production and the rest of the marine food web. Lectures topics will include ocean structure, waves/tides, circulation, ocean chemistry, land/ocean interactions, primary producers, marine animals, and marine ecosystems. In our field and laboratory activities, we will look for natural examples in Barkley Sound of how these processes come together to shape the biology of the region. A group research project will provide further opportunities for you to explore aspects of oceanography that you are most passionate about.

Research Skills: Collection of marine life from research vessels using nets, dredges and trawls; use of oceanographic instruments to monitor and record basic hydrographic parameters (e.g. temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll); laboratory methods for measuring chemical parameters (e.g. nutrients, pH, chlorophyll and fecal coliform concentration); identification of microscopic planktonic organisms, methods for measuring productivity, grazing and reproduction in planktonic organisms, quantifying organism interactions, and how to carry out a collaborative research project within a group of students.

Practical Skills: Organizing and collecting data; graphing data and statistical analysis; writing a research report; working in small groups on a research project; effective scientific presentations.

Boat Use: You will be given the opportunity to drive boats if you choose to do so. Boat driving is recommended for Biological Oceanography. Students who wish to drive boats at BMSC must hold a PCOC and valid first aid certificate and will participate in an introductory boat check-out on the first day of orientation.

Enrichment activities: We will also have discussion sections on various topics including: ethics in science, applying to graduate school, effective scientific presentations.

Prerequisites: Officially, this course requires introductory biology and ecology. However, the instructor will grant consent for students with courses in introductory chemistry or earth science (e.g. physical geography, geology, hydrology).

Physical requirements: Field and lab work may include some or all of the following activities: walking and climbing on rocky shorelines to collect specimens, working in small and medium sized boats in coastal waters, ability to observe small organisms using microscopes.

Required Text: Your choice of introductory oceanography textbooks. Recommended: any recent edition of Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science (Garrison, T. & Ellis, R.), Cengage Learning.


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